Jesuit Father Paul B. Steinmetz died April 14 at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 92 years old.
Born in St. Louis, he was educated at Our Lady of Sorrows Grade School and Saint Louis University High School before entering the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant in 1946. He was ordained in 1959 and pronounced his final vows in 1962 at the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City, S.D.
His older brother, the late Father Ricardo Steinmetz, also joined the former Missouri Province, but spent almost all his Jesuit life doing ministry in Mexico. Similarly, Father Paul Steinmetz entered the Missouri Province and remained a member of that province (and its successor, the USA Central and Southern Province) all his life. He did regency at Red Cloud Indian School and, since tertianship, was applied to the Wisconsin Province (and its successor, the USA Midwest Province).
After tertianship, Father Steinmetz spent 20 years as a teacher and pastoral minister at Holy Rosary Mission/Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He explored the relationships between Lakota religious traditions and Christianity and completed a doctoral program in the anthropology of religion at the University of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1980. After some shorter assignments as a visiting scholar, from 1988 through 2007, Father Steinmetz served in pastoral ministry at various parishes in Florida, California and Wisconsin. For years, he was active in charismatic renewal. He moved to St. Camillus in 2007 for health reasons but remained active and involved in a broad range of subjects, including non-Christian religions, various forms of contemplative prayer and American politics.
Father Steinmetz was devoted to the traditions and practices of Lakota people. He published a number of articles and books, including “The Sacred Pipe.”
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a date to be determined.